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A Coeducational, College Preparatory School for Ages 3 Through Grade 12

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AP Seminar

AP Seminar is a foundational course that engages students in cross-curricular conversations that explore the complexities of academic and real-world topics and issues by analyzing divergent perspectives. Using an inquiry framework, students read and analyze a wide array of sources in order to synthesize information and develop their own perspectives as written essays and present their positions through oral and visual presentations. Ultimately, the course aims to equip students with the power to analyze and evaluate information with accuracy and precision in order to craft and communicate evidence-based arguments. Students who successfully complete AP Seminar are eligible for AP Research.

At ESD, AP Seminar students pursue topics related to a non-AP fall elective in order to complete the first AP Seminar Performance Task in groups of three to five students. Performance Task 1 consists of an individual research report of 1200 words, a multimedia presentation of the group’s solution or resolution, and an oral defense of their findings and research methods. In the spring, these students complete Performance Task 2—the individual research-based essay and presentation in response to the cross-curricular stimulus packet supplied by the College Board in January.

Throughout the spring semester, each student attends a series of discussion sessions and works with a group of mentor-teachers as each student reads and analyzes the stimulus packet; composes research questions arising from the packet; gathers additional research; analyzes, evaluates and selects evidence; and develops a logical, well-reasoned 2,000-word argument. Finally, each student develops a 6-8 minute multi-media presentation, presents it to a peer audience, and defends his or her research through oral responses to two questions asked by a mentor-teacher. AP Seminar concludes with an end-of-course exam in May.